KENT — Woodinville High’s Falcons aren’t about to get ahead of themselves.
Sure, the Falcons dispatched another top-10 opponent at the King Showcase on Monday. Woodinville’s 61-49 girls’ basketball victory over Kentridge at ShoWare Center ran the team’s record to 15-0.
It would seem the schedule sets up for an undefeated regular season as the campaign enters the final two weeks before the playoffs begin.
But there are things still needing to get straightened out for the top-ranked Falcons, who after beating the Chargers must be considered one of the favorites to win the Class 4A state title in March.
“I definitely think the field is wide open this year,” Woodinville coach Scott Bullock said. “There’s no Central Valley out there, where everyone is just trying to figure out how to beat that team. And I think we are in that mix.”
The Falcons may be more than in that mix, as Kentridge would have been had things not gone awry as December concluded. In the second game of a nonleague tournament, against Mount Spokane on Dec. 28, the Chargers lost all-everything post player Jordyn Jenkins for the rest of the season to a torn ACL.
Kentridge held on to win that game, but lost its next two. The fifth-ranked Chargers have managed to hang in there and are 12-3 overall, but any title aspirations were severely hampered by the loss of the USC Trojans signee.
Even without Jenkins, Kentridge mounted a gutsy effort against Woodinville. Despite the Falcons building a double-digit lead, then extending it to a game-high 52-31 on a Mia Hughes basket with 44 seconds left in the third quarter, the Chargers made it interesting.
Kentridge went on a 13-1 run over the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, closing the gap to 53-47 when Dayla Ballena stole the ball and laid it in with 2 minutes, 16 seconds to go.
Though Woodinville made six free throws down the stretch to extend the final margin, giving up the big lead late will keep practices interesting.
“It’s something we need to work on, definitely,” sophomore guard Veronica Sheffey said. “It’s hard to take a lead, then not let them make a run.”
It has happened previously this season.
In mid-December, Woodinville dominated another top-10 team – Inglemoor – early into the fourth quarter. But then the lead disappeared before the Falcons eventually prevailed in overtime.
On Monday, it was a pair of big performances from Sheffey and another sophomore, Tatum Thompson, that carried Woodinville.
Sheffey and Thompson each scored a game-high 20 points, including Sheffey sinking four of those final six free throws down the stretch. For Thompson it was a career high as she posted a double-double effort by adding 16 rebounds.
For Kentridge, Ballena had 11 points and Kiernen Denckla scored a team-high 12.
“For my team, this was a confidence boost,” Kentridge coach Brad McDowell said. “We just played one of the best teams in the state, and it wasn’t like they blew us out.”
It did take a big run just to get the Chargers close, though.
“Woodinville is relentless,” McDowell said. “Mia Hughes (who had 14 points Monday) never turns off the motor. They just play so well together. Your kids always have got to be ready to go.”